Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is currently serving a 60-year-prison sentence in his home country for murder, embezzlement, and corruption, but that didn't stop him from trying to sue Activision, the US video game giant behind the Call of Duty franchise, for the comparatively benign affront of including a character named after him in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Like his brutal dictatorship that ended with the US invasion of Panama in 1989, Noriega's lawsuit also came crashing down suddenly today, when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Fahey dismissed it, the Associated Press reports. Noriega, now 80-years-old, had sought unspecified damages for the use of his likeness in the game and only reportedly became aware of it after one of his grandchildren played it.
The judge said that the inclusion of the Noreiga character in Black Ops II — who appears mainly in just one mission: "Suffer with Me," and (spoiler alert) flips from ally to antagonist in the game, mirroring Noriega's real-life transition from CIA informant to wanted criminal — was protected under the First Amendment, which enshrines freedom of speech in the US. In a twist worthy of a well-plotted videogame, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulani represented Activision during the proceedings and praised the lawsuit's dismissal calling it "an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning" and adding "we're gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn't win."